The Discovery Center is an urban bird sanctuary and leadership development center conceived in partnership between The Audubon Society of Pennsylvania, Outward Bound Philadelphia, and the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. The Center offers programming aimed at connecting city residents with nature. The project site surrounds a 37-acre decommissioned reservoir.
The design relies on simple forms, including a nearly 500’ charred wood façade and site wall, to create a single, poignant portal from the city to this unexpected natural setting, drawing visitors in and heightening the experience of revelation.
The design employs a limited palette of materials. The primary exterior material is western red cedar charred by fire. This centuries-old wood preservation technique greatly extends the life of the material, embodying the paradox of natural forces that are at once destructive, restorative, and protective. The choice of building material invites another level of inquiry into both the novel ecology of the site and our inhabitation of the natural world.
The building serves as a gateway that allows visitors to access the site without requiring entry to the building. After hours, a hand forged steel pivoting security gate maintains a visual connection with the reservoir. Conceived by local artist Warren Holzman, the weathering steel gate references a long tradition of blacksmithing and decorative sanctuary gates in Philadelphia.
Frances M. Maguire Art Museum - St. Joseph's University
Center For Advanced Technologies - Bucks County CC
PPR Residence Hall - Swarthmore College
Discovery Center - Outward Bound & Audubon
Bigham Leatherberry Wise Place - People's Emergency Center
The Study at University City
Caesar Rodney Hall - University of Delaware
Greene Street Friends School
Campus Bookstore & Development Office - University of Delaware
Margaret Passmore Trickey Building
Pavilion & Children's Discovery Garden at Sister Cities Park
The Clay Studio
Class of 1986 Fitness and Wellness Center - Princeton University
Intercultural Engagement Center - University of Delaware
Housing Northwest Arkansas
Edible Garden and Classroom - Tyler Arboretum
Tyler School of Art - Temple University
Arts Café Expansion & Renovation - University of Pennsylvania
Gore Capabilities Center
W P Point Event Space & Lodge
Construction Training & Education Center
150 Rouse Boulevard
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Gettysburg Montessori School
Base Camp Delta
Matchbox - Swarthmore College
Delaware History Museum
Shallcross Hall - Friends Central School
Dogfish Head Brews and Eats
Philadelphia Union Training Facility
The Global Learning Center
201 Rouse Boulevard
351 Rouse Boulevard
If you would like to be considered for an internship or full-time position, e-mail a cover letter, resume, references and portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org as one PDF document. Please limit attachments to 2MB. We will respond to you should the appropriate opportunity be available. No phone calls please.